Statement of Principles on Best Practice in PR Measurement and Evaluation

The following guidelines have been developed by the PRIA Measurement and Evaluation Committee.  The committee utilised the Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles as a starting point to form bespoke guidelines for the Australian public relations industry. In addition we have worked closely with the International Association on Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) to align our principles to the work they are undertaking globally. 

Measurement and evaluation - using database program

Author: Judy Halter, Senior Public Relations Coordinator, University of Southern Queensland
Published: Presentation given at PRIA National Conference 2010
Abstract: Examines a measurement and evaluation database program.

The Fine Art of the Communication Audit

Author: Rodney Gray FPRIA
Published: Reprinted from February 2000 - Total Communication Measurement
Abstract: Communication audits can turn up disappointing news, but even lackluster results are a baseline for improvement. In this feature, Rodney Gray talks about recent data from Australia. As elsewhere, communication audits are increasingly popular in Australia, even though they don’t always measure the most critical indicators of communication effectiveness.

While the primary objective of measuring internal communication is to determine the extent it changes behavior or influences attitudes, the first step is to satisfy employees’ communication needs. Communication audits assess the extent to which employees’ communication needs are being met. Not only that, but good audits indicate employees’ assessment of a wide range of communication variables. By using factorial modelling, different aspects of communication can be correlated with overall communication satisfaction to reveal high leverage areas. This analysis reveals employees’ communication priorities. Communicators can then (a) concentrate improvements in those high leverage areas where there are both low scores and a high correlation with overall communication satisfaction; and (b) minimize efforts and expense where there’s little impact overall. 

PR Metrics: How to Measure Public Relations and Corporate Communication

Author: Dr Jim Macnamara BA, MA, PhD, FPRIA, FAMI, CPM, FAMEC
Published: 2002; 2005
Abstract: Today, in both the public and private sectors, accountability and, therefore, measurability are key principles of management. Increasingly, measurement and evaluation need to be more than anecdotal and informal. Objective rigorous methods are required that deliver credible proof of results and Return on Investment (ROI) to management, shareholders and other key stakeholders.

Media Content Analysis: It Uses; Benefits and Best Practice Methodology

Author: Dr Jim Macnamara BA, MA, FPRIA, FAMI, CPM, FAMEC
Published: 2007
Abstract: Mass media are believed to cause violence, sexual promiscuity and contribute to discrimination against women. Media advertising is used to sell products and services. News in leading media has been shown to significantly affect stock prices; lead to corporate collapses; cause falls in sales of products; result in the resignation of senior office-holders – even bring down Presidents. Further information on the effects of mass media is provided in Macnamara (2003), Mass Media Effects: A Review of 50 Years of Media Effects Research.

Measuring the Immeasurable

Author: Dr Joy Chia, School of Communication, University of South Australia
Published: December 2006
Abstract: Public relations scholars have attempted to measure public relations relationships to determine whether they are satisfactory, whether relational partners trust each other and whether commitment is critical to successful relationships. These scholars point to the need to measure relationships but an essential first step is to have a clear and orderly accepted concept of what is to be measured and whether the measuring of relationships is a realistic goal.

This paper suggests that relational characteristics such as commitment, trust and satisfaction are so subjective that attempts to measure them have been extremely difficult as they change with each situation, with different clients and organisations and with varied perceptions and interpretations of those in a relationship. 

Making the Link Between Public Relations Initiatives and Sales Revenue

Author: Diane Thieke, Director of Global Public Relations Factiva®, from Dow Jones
Published: 2006
Abstract: Tips for using web-based communication and measurement tools. Business managers and public relations (PR) managers inherently understand that public relations is an essential activity for building awareness among potential customers and for influencing their actions. But ask a CEO for proof of public relations value and see how he responds. He may provide you with an anecdote or two, cite a good article in a major publication or share the results of customer awareness surveys. But he is unlikely to directly tie public relations results to standard management measures such as revenue.

Beyond ROI - The PR-to-Sales Connection Has Been Made, So What's Next?

Author: Mark Weiner, Senior Vice President and Global Director, Ketchum Global Research Network Published: August 2007. This article was first produced in The Daily Bulldog.
Abstract: Since the dawn of public relations, PR people have sought to compute the link between PR and return-on-investment, primarily in the form of a PR-to-sales connection. Now, through new technologies and an advanced form of statistical analysis known as marketing mix modeling, companies in industries ranging from consumer packaged goods to financial services have quantified what we have always believed in our hearts to be true: PR works. Even better, PR consistently outperforms other forms of marketing and at a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, after all the effort, sales can be a very fickle marketing measure in a time of commoditization, globalization and a growing distrust of big business. So it seems that just as we've overcome marketing's greatest hurdle, we must contend with another: to go beyond mere sales to create growing, lasting and profitable relationships with our customers.

Where to get it - How to do it: Research and Measurement Jim Macnamara

Author: Jim Macnamara, MA, PhD, FPRIA, FAMI, CPM, FAMEC
Published: 12 June 2008
Abstract: Presentation given at the Corporate Communication Committee's event on practical insight into the current and future methods of research, measurement and evaluation. The discussion covered good and bad research and measurement techniques, focusing on what works and what doesn’t and how to find the right technique to suit every organisation’s needs. The latest methods and trends were highlighted and speakers provided both practical and academic case studies to emphasise their points.

Where to get it - How to do it: Research and Measurement Ben Taylor

Author: Ben Taylor, Managing Director at Sweeney Research
Published: 12 June 2008
Abstract: Presentation given at the Corporate Communication Committee's event on practical insight into the current and future methods of research, measurement and evaluation. The discussion covered good and bad research and measurement techniques, focusing on what works and what doesn’t and how to find the right technique to suit every organisation’s needs. The latest methods and trends were highlighted and speakers provided both practical and academic case studies to emphasise their points.

PR Evaluation - Survey of Australian Practitioners

Author: Peter Simmons MPRIA and Associate Professor Tom Watson FPRIA
Published: 2004, School of Communication, Charles Sturt University 
Abstract: In 2004 the CSU in conjunction with the PRIA conducted nationwide survey of public relations practitioners has found that web searches and media coverage dominate research habits and that evaluation still causes difficulty for many. The findings show that most PR research measures outputs rather than outcomes of communication.

For an industry mindful of establishing credibility with decision makers, the findings suggest that evaluation education and training should remain firmly on the agenda of the PRIA, educators and industry leaders into the future.

Waters In Australia Media Monitors Research Report: The Water Debate in Australia – A Drought of Action; A Flood of Politics, Vested Interests and Nimbyism

Author: Media Monitors
Published: 2007
Abstract: Practical action to address Australia's water crisis is being blocked by Federal-State politics, dead-locked in competing claims and counter-claims by vested interests and stymied by NIMBYism, according to an independent analysis of the water debate in Australia from 1 January to 30 April. 

Dispelling the Myth of PR Multipliers and Other Inflationary Audience Measures

Author: Mark Weiner and Don Bartholomew 
Published: 2006, Institute for Public Relations www.instituteforpr.org 
Abstract: Multipliers are often used by public relations professionals to factor circulation or audience figures when calculating impressions. Multipliers are generally rationalized by users to take into account pass-along circulation and/or to assign a higher value to PR impressions than advertising impressions due to a perceived higher level of credibility. The authors argue that the facts do not support the use of multipliers, and their use may actually hurt the credibility of the profession.

Advertising Values to Measure PR: Why They Are Invalid

Author: Dr Jim Macnamara BA, MA, PhD, FPRIA, FAMI, CPM, FAMEC
Published: 2007
Abstract: Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs), also referred to as ‘ad values’ and ‘ad equivalency’ have become a commonly used method for measuring the alleged value of public relations – or, more specifically, editorial publicity (Jeffress-Fox, 2003). This method of evaluation has attracted considerable criticism from researchers and scholars, but continues to be used and defended. This paper reviews the growing body of literature and research on the practice and the arguments for and against AVEs, and presents a critical analysis.

Research in Public Relations: A Review of the Use of Evaluation and Formative Research

Author: Jim R. Macnamara BA, MA, FPRIA, AFAMI
Published: 1997
Abstract: While debate continues over whether public relations fits within marketing or corporate management, or both, there is broad agreement that modern public relations practice needs to function as a management discipline within an organisation’s total management team. Grunig, Crable, Vibbert and others point to public relations evolving from a communication technician role focussed on producing and distributing information, to a communication manager role focussed on building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders.

Measuring Up Engagement

Author: Simon van Wyk, Hothouse Interactive
Published: 12 June 2008  
Abstract: Measuring engagement is not an exact science as Simon finds out. It all used to be so easy. In the early days of web analytics everything was focused on impressions, click-throughs, and conversion rates. However, with an increased marketing spend online comes increased expectations of measurement and tracking. Marketers are looking for different ways to measure the success of their digital marketing spend. Of course any campaign, whether on or offline should be measured by whether its objectives were met. And those objectives are trending towards engagement.

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